Marjaliisa meets us as always and takes us to the Kamp Hotel.

Helsinki – gateway to Russia…

Helsinki is a very happy place for me. It is a city I am very fond of and I always enjoy getting here in good time. Wish you were here! It is always an early start to catch the 07.20 flight from Heathrowi but you get here in time for lunch. I always hope for good weather because it is fun to sit out on the street outside the Kamp Hotel and enjoy their lunch menu and actually relax for a few minutes. The build up to a trip is always so intense and has been especially so this time around with so much travel ahead. Just the afternoon to relax in Helsinki and a chance to catch up with clients is much appreciated.

Enjoying the sun for lunch outside the Kamp Hotel, Helsinki

Check-in at Heathrow was easy and although I had the usual extra luggage with camera gear etc, they were quick and easy and the system of paying for an extra bag is much more preferable to the punishing per kilo system. You do have to pay for rod tubes and you do have to go to the main desk to pay but it was all fine. By the way, after five years, I finally got the 27 bags back from Murmansk that customs took back in 2007. The final compromise was to send the bags back from where they came having never entered Russia.

Marjaliisa meets us as always and takes us to the Kamp Hotel.

Helsinki airport was easy too and the airport gets better and better with new shops and facilities appearing with every year I go. This is my 21st year coming to the Ponoi so I have seen great changes. We landed in the new part with the good cafes and restaurants which is a bit of a walk to passport control. As I descended the escalator into the baggage hall, there was the familiar friendly face of Marjaliisa Bjorkbom to look after us. She has done this for about 15 years and is so much part of the Frontiers/Ponoi experience. She looked after us and soon we were on our way to the Kamp Hotel from where this is being written.

So far so good after a fine lunch in the sun watching the world go by.

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